The Broken Lovers

warring tigers

Enemies in literature can come from anywhere.  Childhood rivals, slighted strangers, or simple ‘Me bad guy, you good guy’ syndrome.  There is one that isn’t used too often and I couldn’t even find an example.  Sleep deprivation might be an added factor into that.

Lovers turning into enemies.

You would think this is an easy one to find examples of, but I found a few stumbling blocks.  One is that people are more interested in ‘enemies turning into lovers’.  The other is that a lot of people don’t know what enemy means.  Seriously!  Han Solo & Leia?  Ron & Hermione?  These aren’t enemies.  They simply don’t get along at first.  The only one on a few lists that I found that came even close was Spike & Buffy, which many people want to forget.  Oh!  Buffy & Angel can be my soul example here even though there were mitigating circumstances.  For those that don’t know, they had sex, Angel lost his soul (worst STD ever!), and he went back to being a murderous vampire.

That’s the other thing with this scenario.  It’s always something turning the lover evil like mind control, loss of soul, for their lovers own good, etc.  I can’t think of a coupling where one simply turned on the other because they just started hating them.  It’s always a third party or one does an act that would make real world serial killers throw up.

There are a few non-third party scenarios I can think of to use this:

  1. Unrequited Love–  This is the easiest because it’s already one-sided and the emotions aren’t returned.  You can have the one in love turn ‘evil’ to get what he/she desires even if their obsession isn’t interested.  An amount of crazy stalker and obsession is required for this and you can go really far if you want.
  2. I’ve Had It With Your Shit–  I have not seen this one ever done, but I can see it happening on a low-scale story.  Somebody trying to get away from a lover that is obviously wrong for them.  It wouldn’t be action-packed, but with one clinging on and the other wanting to get away, you have a lot of drama.  The trigger event can be something small or big, but it’s probably smarter to go for a series of small issues to give it more distance.

Wow.  That’s really it.  The idea that lovers can become enemies isn’t a very popular one without that third party influence.  Maybe because divorce is so prevalent and everybody fears it.  Nobody wants to read about two people who went from loving each other to despising the ground they walk on.  At least that’s what it seems because I still can’t figure out a pure ‘I no longer love you and wish to destroy you’ couple.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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33 Responses to The Broken Lovers

  1. howanxious says:

    I have an example- the husband and wife from Gone Girl. Sorry, I have forgotten their names. But it made quite an interesting story.
    But yes, you are true. It is only rarely seen that the lovers become enemies.

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  2. sknicholls says:

    Unrequited love inspires me….a little teaser…..it appears in my next WIP.

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  3. Honestly I never understood how one could go from true love to utter hatred for another as we see happen so many times with couples. I find the whole thing bizarre as well.

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    • Either it wasn’t true love in the first place or one of them changes into something incompatible. Also a fear of being alone and never finding someone else, which can grow resentment. I know a few couples where one of them is very immature and selfish, so it’s only a matter of time before things go sour.

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  4. tjtherien says:

    Morgan le Fey and King Arthur had a tryst according to some legends, even though she was Arthur’s half sister, she was his lover through deceit and his mortal enemies. In some of the Arthur mythos Morgan and Merlin were also at one time lovers…

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  5. Setsu says:

    I’ve seen “I’m tired of your shit!” among war-brothers, and other platonic relationships (Last Argument of Kings, between Ninefingers and Bethod), but rarely with romance. My third book has a pretty big “tired” split between the two villains, but there’s no love-lost between the villain and the hero.

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  6. Although it is uncomfortable to read/watch lovers become enemies, it is an excellent recipe for drama – all that passion and emotion turned in on itself can make for a great explosion. I can’t think up any more examples, but it’s a bit like the inverse of Romeo and Juliet. Wait, I know – What about Othello when he kills his wife (I haven’t read that one so I could be way off base)?

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  7. Setsu says:

    I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. Any historical fiction surrounding Henry VIII is ultimately about a disintegrating relationship.

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  8. cnmill says:

    I’ve never even thought about this. Honestly . . . how has NOBODY else thought of this? That would make for some good stories, in my opinion. It could get so nasty.

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    • Somebody pointed out in another comment that history has some stuff like this. So, it may be found in historical fiction, which is a genre I’ve never delved into. So, it could be out there in realms that I never explored.

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      • cnmill says:

        Hmm . . . I’ve never delved into it either. I never thought it would be my cuppa, but . . . as I said, that could have some potentially awesome stories if done right.

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